Love Magic

My wife is the strongest woman I know. In fact she’s a goddamn wild oak; steadfast and headstrong. Loyal and smart. Caring and kind, warm and quick to laugh with others. She can be loud; brash or intimidating some might say. Passionate about what she believes in and confident enough to always find her way. She makes friends easily and lives to see and be seen.

But what I really love about my wife is what doesn’t show on the surface. The things most people don’t get to see. The moments I’ve shared with her in private or amongst close friends over the last three (almost four) years I’ve known her when no one else was looking. Those moments when her confidence falters, or she seems unsure about what to do next. When she speaks softly in fumbled speech. When things around her fall apart. Those are the times I witness the real elegance and humility behind the eyes of my lioness.

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Nicole Frances “Beau” LeBeau is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. But most of the reasons I married her don’t show up on the surface. I love her for the grace and gallantry of a delicate balancing act she is performing before everyone, right before their eyes, without them knowing it. The act of facing every challenge with certainty. The act of taking every setback in stride. It’s a secret magic that only I can see, or rather, that she lets me see; with invisible strings and silver-glass columns holding her up, day after day. The magic of being both vulnerable and steady, smart and silly, wife and friend.

I am so happy to have the front row seat, now and forever. So happy to celebrate this first of many anniversaries.

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Lost at Sea

When you look at one up close, you see unimaginable details in the iris.  It’s a raw, living terrain of light and color through which another soul looks out from behind a veil of nerves and blood, brewing beneath like magma under the mantle.  But these eyes, her eyes, burned as a tumultuous blue depth, filled with all of the fury of Neptunian worlds; the rippling surface of the sea painted into a quiet peace from afar. With careful attention my mind wanders over this wondrous ring of infinitesimal brushstrokes caught in contrast between brilliant white and an abyssal core from which she lurks, down in the deep.  I feel myself circling, swaying; drifting through the rise and fall of endless crests and whitecaps, wordless, and impossibly lost.  I have to turn away and focus my eyes on something far away just to redraw myself back into the chair across from her and not tumble out. Maybe one day I’ll know her eyes well enough not to flounder. Maybe I’ll have charted the ebb and flow of hues so well that I can navigate them without feeling uneasy.  But for now every glimpse is an odyssey.  That’s why I look at her the way I do, locking myself away in incomprehension, staring out a window; a portrait facing a painting.

The Dust of All Things

Sometimes I think about life as If I were a cosmic entity, floating through the ether, collecting debris along the way as other pieces of me are shed, stripped off by time and pressure.  In a way I guess we are heavenly bodies; a collection of elements and molecules that are constantly infused and then released again back into the universe.  I think about planets being born, circling around a center of gravity, collecting dust and materials along their paths until they create enough of their own gravity to coalesce into a uniform body.  

Maybe we’re the same way, not just in the crude matter that holds us together and gives us form, but as we tumble along through life.  I think about the things I’ve lost and gained over the years, the physical and the mental.  I’ve travelled far and picked up a lot along the way.  Scars, bruises, memories and experiences that have long since been absorbed and melted back into the core unconscious. My face, my body – they’ve been weathered by time.  

I wonder how I’ve attracted others in my time, about how I’ve seen things pass by and not noticed or cared, while at other times I would look wide-eyed as something shot towards and threatened to break me in two. How many times have I reached out to grab something passing by, only to fail?  In my years I’ve encountered and drifted alongside others, caught up in a mutual gravity, spinning around one another.  Often for too long. Sometimes shorter. When they leave they take pieces of me with them, ripped by the tidal forces of separation.  And always, I’ve continued my on my path, my skin scraped and my soul shorn.

I see you coming towards me and being caught in your tremendous pull.  We circle around each other, drawn by invisible force, closer and closer.  How long will we dance?  Will we one day collapse in on each other and merge? Would I even recognize this new world we’d be giving ourselves to?  Our worlds  mixed together over time, churning a new stratum from within a white hot core. A genesis.

I imagine the life of a planet, one day dying from the inside as it cools.  Eventually it floats lifelessly, calm and constant, a paper boat in a pond no longer pushed by the wind.  Eventually it will dissolve and turn back into the dust of all things. Everything it ever was.  Everything it ever collected along its journey.  Everything it merged with and added to itself, crumbling apart and falling away, piece by piece back into the void to be collected once again. That thought makes me happy.

I think about meandering through the universe together, entangled with you throughout time, absorbed and separated again and again into new worlds.  Now that we’ve found each other we are bound.  Enmeshed by the chemistry and attraction of our base natures.  Finding and collecting each other.

Dark of Hair

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve been chasing after girls with dark hair for too long. I have this recurring dream where I’m chasing after a girl, and when I finally catch up to her and place my hand on her shoulder, she turns around. Except it’s a girl from my past, not the one I’m looking for. So I keep running until I see her again. I spin her around gently to face me and it’s another old lover with dark hair. They always wear the same expression; a sad smile. Your princess is in another castle. I keep running, through throngs of people on a street where there is no noise. One dark head of hair after another, always turning to me with the wrong, sweet smile. The street gets brighter and brighter as the sun rises in the direction I’m running. Soon it’s too much light for me to see anyone in front of me. I trip and fall and wake up in my bed, the white pillow next to me radiating it’s vacancy in the light of a new day. I had this dream again a few nights ago. But when I woke up, I didn’t see white. I saw a girl with dark hair turned away from me. I touched her shoulder and as she turned to face me I threw my arm around her and pulled her close, closing my eyes and kissing her behind the ear. I didn’t need to look. She was right there. The morning light passed and I fell into a different dream.

Artifacts

Today while I was getting ready for my day I caught a glimpse of something unusual and lovely.  As the light of day filled in my bedroom I saw the shape of two small lines close together, one wavy and one straight, joined together.  The channels of light passing through the blinds sat perfectly parallel to the object on the surface of my nightstand.  I stepped toward it and smiled, recognizing it.  I didn’t see her pluck it out of her hair or leave it behind, but it didn’t matter. It was evidence of something wonderful in my life once more.  A ripple against the rocks. A small echo from a new song. I left it there, in tides of light and shadow; a relic of warm feelings washed ashore.

Dating for the Awkward and Unfortunate

I felt like a high school kid talking to a venerable college senior. It was at once strange, engaging, awkward and humbling. It’s a sensation I haven’t felt in a long time, probably since I could truthfully call myself a high school student. In fact the first 5 minutes of our date was straight out of a John Hughes movie set in those fledgling years of everyone’s life where all of the possibilities in the world can be unlocked by unzipping a pair of pants or unhooking a bra strap.

I fell down the stairs within about 10 seconds of meeting her for our date. I knew what she looked like from photos, and going into it I was suspicious that she was fulfilling some kind of community service hours. The photos didn’t do justice to her eyes. When I met them with mine, I felt the gears in my head actually grind to a halt. It felt like my brain had run out of memory or was having a tough time churning through a 64-bit image with a 16-bit processor.

I exchanged a few words with her without really knowing what I was saying, and then turned to proceed down the stairs behind her. My legs locked up at the knee and I quickly discovered the ability to negotiate stairs was no longer available to me. Imagine a rusted tin-man trying in vain to put his foot out towards the next step before an inescapable fall to abject humiliation. Thankfully, at the last minute, my brain express-messaged my knee to unlock itself, narrowly averting disaster. I missed a step anyways, and clumsily fell forward to the bottom of the steps. Before looking up to meet those ferocious eyes once more, I collected myself and was thankful I was still on two feet instead of all fours.

“Don’t kill yourself.”

“Right. Thanks.”

That set the tone for the night. I ordered an americano (purely to appear cool, since I don’t drink coffee), and then smoothly walked over to the table she had claimed without realizing my fly was undone. She pointed it out and I unceremoniously zipped it back up in front of her, now coming to the conclusion that there was no more face to save. This was roughly two minutes into our date. Little did I know that the emotional peaks of embarrassment brought about in the first 120 seconds would be met again and surpassed throughout the night in an incessant string of moments gone awry. But sometimes magical things happen by mistake.

Maybe seeing me pick myself up literally and figuratively after each awkward tumble was the secret. I never knew what she was really thinking past those eyes. To be honest I found myself not caring at times. I couldn’t look away. Her eyes were commanding most of my senses. I felt like a hunter, looking directly into glowing eyes of the forest at night. I kept talking, often deflecting or redirecting her inquires in conversation back at her just to give my mind a respite and protect my insecurities. I felt like fanning myself with my napkin more than once. I thought for sure I was sweating.

We talked and talked about simple, dumb things and not so simple big, fat ideas. We laughed and drank and moved from one place to another, walking in the cold winter air like teenagers without a ride. I guess that’s when I started to feel like maybe she and I were in the same grade after all. That feeling I had of being young and stupid was fading.

By the time we got back to her car, it was gone. As we got near her door she turned and said “So..,” expecting me to to finish the thought as some kind of love-barometer reading on how it went. Unfortunately at that moment, every ounce of confidence drained out of me, down through my body and out into my shaky stance. It was the first time I’d been faced with the possibility that maybe she wouldn’t want to see me again. She had inadvertently pulled the linchpin out of the connection holding together how I thought things were going and how I wanted to end the night. My eyes widened on her smile before I shot out my hand in a panic, reaching for hers.

“A handshake?” she asked.

I paused for a moment as she gave me her hand, and then came to my senses as I thought I might never get to do this again. I pulled her close and It ended up as a half-kiss on her cheek. As soon as it was over I wanted to pull away and just walk back home. But she was still in front of me, holding on to my hand. I looked at her. She was smiling, and just as I had zipped up my fly in front of her earlier, I dropped all sense of propriety and asked for another chance.

I got it right on the second try. I was 16, making out with the prom date I had always wanted. We said our goodbyes, and I started to walk back home with a silly grin.

It was way better than high school.